UseR! 2010 day 1

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Just a couple of quick notes about the first day of talks at useR! 2010. It’s been a jam-packed schedule — so many good talks to see and people to meet, I just wish I had more time for it all!

One stand-out for me so far has been Frank Harrell’s keynote lecture Information Allergy, on the dangers of misusing statistics in Medicine, was amazing. You know a talk is thought-provoking when you’re still thinking about the consequences in free moments the day after. It’s worthy of an entire blog post on its own.

I’ve also been excited to see the number of real-life applications using R presented at the conference. In one session alone, I saw how R is used to precisely locate earthquakes (by comparing actual arrival times of signals in seismograph data to their predicted arrival times); how it’s used to measure and report on water quality in Australia; and even how it’s used to measure the amount of greenhouse gases leaching out of landfills, from LIDAR measurement data. Really fascinating stuff.

The launch-party for last night was a lot of fun too: having about 150 R users together to drink and chat was a great way to learn lots of new things and meet some great people. Thanks to everyone who came along. (If you’re at JSM in Vancouver, we’ll be hosting another social event on Tuesday, August 3.)

Overall, so far it’s been a really outstanding conference: smooth organization, great people, interesting talks, and a really palpable sense of excitement about R. Anyway, I have to run now to give my talk. I’ll write more when I get a free moment.

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